The news that Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has a torn right ACL is a huge blow to a Chip Kelly-led offense that looks to do big things in 2013.
Maclin, by all accounts, is the Eagles No. 1 wide receiver. He led the team in receptions, yards and touchdowns last season, and was looking to add to those numbers in an offense that seemed perfectly catered to his skill set. The Eagles will now be searching high and low for a replacement both internally and externally.
There are a few options currently on the roster that have filled in admirably for Maclin when he has been injured in the past and those players include Riley Cooper and Damaris Johnson. Cooper would seem to be the more natural fit on the outside as he has the size at 6-foot-3 and athleticism that a quarterback craves as a target at wide receiver. Johnson should be a break out performer in Kelly’s offense as he has the best short-area quickness on the entire roster and he should be a menace for nickel corners looking to defend him.
The Eagles could also look at some street free agents to fill the void left by Maclin’s season-ending injury. Brandon Lloyd is an established receiver who fell out of favor in New England, and Laurent Robinson is a veteran who has had a few productive years that should be considered.
In all likelihood, however, the Eagles will look to fill the void internally. Cooper, Johnson, veteran Jason Avant and even newcomer Arrelious Benn will have to pick up the slack left by Maclin’s devastating injury. DeSean Jackson will also have to really step up in Kelly’s offense and emerge as that true No. 1 target for the Eagles offense to continue to thrive despite losing one of their best playmakers.
The tight end, already a staple of a Kelly offense, will be made even more important now. Three-tight-end sets featuring Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and James Casey will have to be featured more in the offense to make up for the loss of Maclin.
It is rough news for the Eagles and their fans everywhere. The Eagles, however, seem to have the pieces in place to still churn out a potentially productive offense despite losing one of their finest playmakers.